Mpumalanga Premier David Mabuza has welcomed the arrest of suspects implicated in a R143 million fraud case relating to the construction of the Mbombela Stadium for the FIFA 2010 Soccer World Cup.
Mabuza was speaking at the handover of four houses in Nyongane near Hazyview on Saturday.
“We welcome the move by the Hawks. This is taking us closer to closing this chapter since this matter has been around for a very long time. We are not saying those who are arrested are guilty, but at least this will help all of us know if there were irregularities or not. This is a good step in the right direction,” said Mabuza.
Kaizer Chiefs soccer boss Bobby Motaung and his business partner at Lefika Emerging Equity, Herbert Theledi, were arrested on charges of fraud, forgery, theft and uttering last week.
Former Lefika chief executive Chris Grib was arrested for fraud, forgery and uttering only.
The Nelspruit regional court released Motaung and Theledi on R50 000 bail each on Thursday while Grib was released on R20 000 bail on Friday. They will appear in court again on October 15.
Mabuza said the people of the province needed to know the truth as there had been much speculation about the case.
“There have been serious speculations around it and the people out there have a right to know if really there was corruption or not. Therefore, we believe that with this move, at least the truth will prevail, and that there will be closure to this matter,” said Mabuza.
He also urged the citizens to allow the law to take its course.
“People must allow the law to follow due processes,” he said.
The family of slain speaker of the Mbombela local municipality, Jimmy Mohlala, have expressed hope that the case will shed light on his murder.
Mohlala was shot dead on January 4 2009 shortly before he was expected to testify at a hearing against former municipal manager Jacob Dladla regarding Dladla’s failure to declare his private business interests with beneficiaries of the 2010 stadium deal, and his role in questionable expenditure involving Lefika.
Mohlala was also reportedly preparing to lodge separate criminal charges against Lefika for sending a letter on a Mbombela letterhead dated 22 December 2008 to First National Bank in Pretoria as surety for an overdraft facility.
Meanwhile, Mabuza praised local community structures who donated materials and built the four houses that were handed over to poor residents on Saturday.
He said that although the provincial government had done well in delivering houses, there was still a huge backlog.
“We have done well in housing people in the former townships, our focus now is in the peri-urban areas,” he said.
He said waiting lists were long because the processes used to compile the lists are “very complex and full of flaws”.
“We need to assist the department of human settlement to ensure that people who are on the waiting lists are guaranteed houses,” said Mabuza.
He said there should be a single, valid list and no favouritism.
He said it was disturbing that youth were being given priority when it came to the allocation of RDP houses, instead of the elderly, who were living on collapsing corrugated shacks and mud houses.